Integrated Security Services, Inc., New York

Why the Rochester School Committee Seriously Needs to Reconsider Their Background Check Program

14 May

School buses loop_oh/flickr

Background checks available to the general public are difficult to navigate and fail to provide the same comprehensive answers that a background check by a professional private investigation firm can.

Recently, a local Massachusetts newspaper, the Wanderer, reported that the Rochester School Committee and Superintendent Douglas White had stipulated in a budget proposal that adults working and volunteering within the school system would be subject to national background checks.

In his newsletter, White noted that “all school employees…who work in the schools and may have direct and unmonitored contact with children are required to complete the new national background check by the end of the 2016 school year.”

While this may seem like a smart, comprehensive policy at first glance, many people don’t fully understand how background checks work on a state-to-state level, not to mention nationally.

The Wanderer goes on to explain that “volunteers will still be required to submit to state CORI checks at least once every three years, but will not be required to submit fingerprints for national screening.” Now that doesn’t sound so great, and in fact, it’s quite possible that Douglas White and the Rochester School Committee are setting a potentially dangerous precedent with this proposal.

Dangerous Assumptions

The fact of the matter is that no such “national background check” exists, despite many websites’ fraudulent claims to offer the service. As it stands, most background checks don’t actually span nationwide — most only cover specific states, regions, or even just counties, then these sites compile and publish these more specialized findings together and claim that it’s “national” in scope.

In fact, just to get all the information on a person’s criminal background in Massachusetts, the Rochester schools would actually have to request criminal records from the State Department of Criminal Justice Information. This is no easy task. In fact, federal background checks can only be requested by law enforcement agencies.

For these reasons, the Rochester School Committee is making a dangerous mistake by not requiring volunteers to submit fingerprints for “national screening.” Any institution that skips this step or fails to perform adequate, comprehensive background checks runs the risk of overlooking a wide range of potential criminal convictions.

These convictions can even include things like weapons or sex trafficking, drug offenses, and distribution of child pornography — convictions you certainly don’t want to find in the history of school workers or any other employee for that matter. In order to properly vet the people who will be working with your children every day, wouldn’t you want to take every step you possibly could to ensure their safety?

A Partner with the Right Resources

The fact of the matter is that most private and public institutions — especially organizations like schools that rely on volunteer networks — aren’t prepared to conduct serious background checks.

That’s why Integrated Security Services offers comprehensive background checks that specifically target searches in the areas where a person has worked or lived for five or more years. We also take special note of those with a proclivity for transience, as it oftens points to an unstable lifestyle, or other problematic performance issues.

Relying on a trusted, discrete firm like Integrated allows you to relax and remain 100% confident that your company, school, or organization is safe from anyone trying to exploit the gaps between various databases. In addition to these background checks, Integrated Security will also examine social media profiles and other digital postings to track down potentially derogatory or hostile viewpoints.

This is not a job that people should attempt to replace with their own, haphazard work, or the automation of a solely online service. Something as serious as security and safety deserves a professional touch.